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Longwood Small Animal Imaging Core Facility (BIDMC)

Director: Clohessy, John G., Ph.D.

Location: 330 Brookline Avenue, ESB-015, Boston, Massachusetts 02215


Our goal is to provide state-of-the-art small animal imaging services to researchers in the Longwood Medical Area of Harvard Medical School. These services include multi-modality imaging, advanced data analysis, image fusion resources, and a satellite animal facility for longitudinal studies. A detailed description of our instruments and services are provided on our website, and we welcome questions and comments.





  • Aspect M2 Compact High-Performance MRI System ( MRI Scanner )

  • Bioscan NanoSPECT/CT ( SPECT animal imager )

    "NanoSPECT/CT is a Small-Animal Imager that achieves unparalleled performance in the field of Nuclear Molecular Imaging. By using Multiplexed Multi-Pinhole (MMP) SPECT technology, NanoSPECT/CT is the first SPECT animal imager that overcomes the resolution vs. sensitivity trade-off. The CT option for the NanoSPECT is a high-resolution X-ray system using volumetric cone-beam technology. By using 4 large broadband detectors--and MMP SPECT technology--NanoSPECT/CT increases imaging sensitivity at least 10-fold and improves spatial resolution to the sub-mm range. The system can provide high-resolution whole-body mouse image using commonly available I-125 in vitro tracers. Combined with the precision & accuracy of helical scanning, this technology yields uniform sub-mm resolutions--and high sensitivity--for both focused & whole-body imaging. Quantitation errors due to partial volume effects are eliminated as are image artifacts caused by non-uniform field-of-view sampling. NanoSPECT/CT tracks a range of biological processes from metabolism to receptors, from gene-expression to cell-trafficking, and from drug activity to many others."

  • CRI Maestro Multi-Spectral Fluorescence imaging system ( In vivo fluorescence imaging system )

  • Leaded Hot Cell ( Biological safety cabinet )

  • Ortho Vitros 350 Chemistry System ( Blood analyzer )

    + Proven VITROS® MicroSlide technology reduces interference
    + Short sample, clot, and bubble detection offers greater accuracy
    + Single use disposable tips eliminate carryover and cross contamination
    + Continuous process verification helps ensure correct results the
    first time
    + MicroSlide technology and onboard dilution allow random testing of serum, plasma, and urine at any time
    + No plumbing, drains, vents or deionized water eliminates many costs associated with alternative systems
    + Low total costs with increased reportable result efficiency, fewer
    errors and interventions, and more effective staff utilization
    + Small footprint requires less space and overhead expenses
    + “Load-and-go” reagent preparation, MicroSlide technology and
    calibration stability up to lot change mean labor can be dedicated to value-added tasks
    + Easy to train and cross-train operators
    + Throughput up to 300 results per hour depending on test mix

  • Satellite Animal Housing Facility ( Animal cage )

    Space for up to 800 mice and 200 rats

  • Xenogen IVIS 50 bioluminescence imaging system ( In vivo bioluminescence imaging system )

    "Bioluminescence imaging is a high-sensitivity, low-noise, non-invasive technique used for visualizing, tracking, and monitoring specific cellular and genetic activity in an animal. This specificity comes from the 'tagging' of the target gene or cells with firefly or Renillia luciferase. When the genes or cells are activated, they emit light, which the system can passively detect and can then record the resulting images. A typical image can take 1 to 5 minutes to acquire. Using the maximum field of view, up to three whole mice can be imaged simultaneously, while another three mice can be anesthetized in an external induction chamber. Using this staggered system, large sets of animals can be processed in a relatively short period of time."



  • Animal Blood Lab testing ( Analysis service )

    Blood testing is a valuable tool that can reveal a wealth of data to investigators. Testing results measured against reference standards can show abnormalities, presence of disease, health of organs, and trends in experimental groups. The Longwood SAIF Blood Lab gives investigators access to a wide range of experimental tools, including:

    * Vitros: Blood Chemistry and Electrolytes
    * TruPoint: Blood Gases
    * Hemavet: Complete Blood Count (CBC)

  • Animal Handling Techniques: Injections (IV, IP), Oral Gavage, etc. ( Material analysis service )

    Longwood SAIF technicians are fully trained in the most common Animal Handling Techniques.

  • In Vivo Bioluminescence Imaging ( Material analysis service )

    Bioluminescence imaging is a high-sensitivity, low-noise, noninvasive technique used for visualizing, tracking, and monitoring specific cellular and genetic activity in a living subject. A highly sensitive camera placed in a light-tight imaging chamber passively detects light created by luciferase. A typical image takes 1 to 5 minutes to acquire.

  • In Vivo Fluorescence Imaging ( Material analysis service )

    Fluorescence light imaging is rapid, painless, and harmless to the subject. The typical experiment involves shining excitation light of the desired wavelength on the subject at about the same fluence rate as that of a brightly lit room. The emission light reflected from the subject is then filtered and imaged with a camera.

  • In Vivo Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) ( Material analysis service )

    Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a medical imaging technique commonly used in radiology to noninvasively visualize detailed internal structures.

  • In Vivo Positron Emission Tomography (PET) Imaging ( Material analysis service )

    Proton-rich nuclei emit positrons, antimatter, which are equal in mass and opposite in charge to an electron. When PET isotopes are used in combination with a computed tomographic (CT) scanner, investigators can quantify the exact amount of radioactivity in any organ or tissue of interest in a living animal.

  • In Vivo Single-Photon Emission Computed Tomography (SPECT) Imaging ( Material analysis service )

    Quantify distribution of radioactive compound in living subjects to create a 3-D image. To create a 3-D image, the SPECT collimator/detector sandwich is rotated in a circular fashion around the animal; data are acquired at each angle of rotation.

  • Longitudinal Animal Studies ( Material analysis service )

    Individual animals may be repeatedly imaged over time, enabling tracking of biological changes such as tumor growth/metabolism, spread of infection, migration of cells, and more. By imaging the same animals at all timepoints, results are more consistent; cost and usage of animals is minimized. Longitudinal studies are made easy at the Longwood SAIF with the availability of convenient on-site satellite animal housing services.

  • Quantitative Image Analysis: Standard Uptake Value (SUV), 3D Volume Measurements ( Data analysis service )

    The LSAIF employs the powerful viewing features of the VivoQuant™ multi-modality post-processing suite for SPECT, CT, PET, MR, and optical imaging data. The LSAIF also has access to an online PACS system (iPACS) that allows us to easily share dicom data and files with clients.

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Last updated: 2019-02-28T13:55:09.632-05:00

Copyright © 2016 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College
The eagle-i Consortium is supported by NIH Grant #5U24RR029825-02 / Copyright 2016